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Project Astra: America's Next Small Step


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6 hours ago, AeroSky said:

Hello, everyone! I have stumbled upon this mod called KSRSS which reskins the stock planets to the Solar System planets, but keeps them at stock scale. It's only available for 1.8.1 (and possibly 1.9.1 since Kopernicus is updated to that), and I'm guessing mods such as BDB, KSC Extended, KER, etc. have 1.8.1 (or 1.9.1) versions.

Should I "film" Project Astra in KSRSS (I have a few empty 1.8.1 saves lying around on my laptop) or should I stay with stock KSP planets?

Mod: 

The photos look great!

I think that would be cool.

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SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT

Hello, everyone! With Christmas break (for everyone, I assume) approaching, and time for Project Astra growing, expect more chapters more frequently (maybe even two chapters a week) starting this weekend (Dec. 19).

I will also be conducting a review of Project Astra's content (and thread) to organize everything and to prepare it for take-off (More chapters). I will also test the KSRSS mod (below) to see if my laptop can run it without lag.

Chapter 3 is ready for release and Chapter 4 will start drafting today! Please also note the modlist given is outdated and will be replaced soon.

EDIT: The mini-chapter links have been removed from the main post to de-clutter it. The mini-chapters still exist.

Stay safe!

Edited by AeroSky
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Project Astra: Official Mod List

Part Mods

Bluedog Design Bureau
reDIRECT
ReStock
ReStock+
Tantares
TantaresLV

Assisting mods

Kerbal Engineer Redux
VesselMover
MechJeb2

KSC Mods

Kerbal Konstructs
KSC Extended
Tundra Space Center
Modular Launch Pads

NOTE: This list is subject to updates at any time.

Click to return to the master post

Edited by AeroSky
KSRSS and Cormorant removed
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Hello, everyone!

Chapter 3: Competition Reignited will release in a few hours. All I need to do is take the photos and place finishing touches. However, since I wasn't able to release a Chapter last weekend, I am willing to release Chapter 4 tomorrow or on Monday to compensate for that? 

Should I release Chapter 4 tomorrow (probably Monday) or should I wait until next weekend? Please note the photos will come with it if it is released on Monday. With a lot of free time opening up for me, I can do longer (moonmissions as well as some probe missions (which will be my first time leaving the Kerbin system ever).

EDIT: I just thought of an idea. I am thinking of making a side-story formatted like Audacity by @jimmymcgoochie(since it's amazing), which means it will have no photos. I believe that I am personally a better writer than photographer, so I could make a story related to Project Astra. Or it could not be related to Project Astra. Could even be a separate story..........

I'd love everyone's thoughts! (About Chapter 4 and the edit above)

Stay safe!

Edited by AeroSky
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UPDATE

Hello, everyone! I may be able to get Chapter 3 out today, but I will not be using KSRSS anymore. Apparently, craft files from 1.10.1 don't work in 1.8.1. This caused issues, so I'll just be using regular 1.10.1 Kerbin to film Project Astra.

Thanks!

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Hello everyone!

After numerous delays (and problems with KSP), Chapter 3 and Chapter 4 will release tomorrow and on Thursday respectively. Most of the problems have been solved, and filming will resume. I will add some mods to the mod-list tomorrow, so watch out for that.

In the mean time, please look at this post as I have updated it:

Notice regarding Chapter 3's story

Thanks for bearing with the delays so far :)

I hope to get more thrilling chapters out over the winter season!

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Chapter 3: Competition Reignited

On April 9, 1974, NASA announces the delay of the Apollo 19 and 19A missions after a communications test with the flight computer failed its main objectives after the computer failed to respond to commands. NASA has not put out a new launch date yet. However, speculation is arising that the Apollo 19, 20, and 21 missions will be cancelled altogether in favor of Project Astra's more ambitious missions.

On April 10, the Soviet space administration announces that a major plumbing problem in the formerly-doomed N-1 rocket has been solved. The problem was one of the fundamental causes of the N-1's tragic failure. With this revelation, the Soviet government gives the go-ahead to launch the fifth N-1 rocket which had been in storage. The Soviet Premier issued an executive command ordering all the design bureaus to work together to assemble 10 N-1 vehicles, as well as to modify the assembled N-1 to make it flight-worthy. The N-2 program was put on hold, but was allowed to continue design development shortly after.

On April 12, 1974, the Soyuz-19 mission launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The mission crew of Aleksei Leonov and Valery Kubasov are headed for a one week stay in Low Earth Orbit to conduct "spacecraft reviews" of their novel Soyuz 7K-L1.

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The Soyuz 7K-L1 is a modified version of the in-use Soyuz 7K-OK, which is used for ferrying crew to the Salyut space stations. the 7K-L1 is designed to hold up to three people in space for three weeks. The 7K-L1 has a docking port on the front end which is large enough to allow the passage of crew between the Soyuz and a docked spacecraft (or space station). According to sources in the Soviet Politburo, the front docking port is designed for use with a spacecraft in development.

A few days later on April 15, Aleksei Leonov conducts the first Soyuz-19 spacewalk, which begins somewhere over the city of Volgograd in the Soviet Union. This spacewalk's primary objective is to test a person's capability to cross the Soyuz while holding it, and to test a person's capability to move from the 7K-L1's inflatable airlock to the front docking port.

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The spacewalk ended about 22 minutes later in a success, proving Leonov's capability to maneuver around the new 7K-L1. Anti-Soviet advocates in Europe and the United States, however, claimed that the spacewalk conducted and the spacewalk planned to be conducted are actually preparatory spacewalks in anticipation of a Moon landing. The Soviet government dismissed all claims regarding manned Moon landings in the near future.

After a few more days and a few experiments (the mission needed a scientific goal or it risked getting criticized by the scientific world), Leonov conducts the second Soyuz-19 spacewalk, which begins somewhere over China. This spacewalk's primary objective is for Leonov to move 20 meters away from his spacecraft and to maintain that position for 5 minutes. 

After Leonov exited the Soyuz's inflatable airlock, he checks communications with both Kubasov and Mission Control back in Moscow, as well as checking if his tether was durable. 

Moscow then gave him the go signal to let go.

As Lenonov floated away, he saw views of the Earth like no man had ever seen before, as, unlike the Apollo astronauts, he saw the Earth in full from up close. 

"It's truly magnificent. And massive."
                             
-Aleksei Leonov, Soyuz-19, Spacewalk 2

About a minute later, Leonov reached the 20-meter mark and began sending his body's telemetry data back to Mission Control. As the data was transmitting back to Moscow, Leonov struck up a conversation with Kubasov to pass the time.

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(The conversation was redacted as it contained details regarding the N-1)

A few minutes later, as Leonov was turned around facing the void of space, Mission Control reported to him that an unidentified object was approaching the spacecraft on a rendezvous trajectory. Leonov calmly asked Control whether he should return to the spacecraft.

As Moscow began analyzing the data, Leonov saw the unidentified object. It was around 20 or so meters in front of him, in his own words. 

He saw an American satellite (It had the stars and stripes on it). And it wasn't any normal American satellite.

It was a spy satellite. And it's camera was looking right at him.

Leonov reported back to Mission control that it was only an American reconnaissance satellite. Once reports of the incident had arrived at the Kremlin, the Soviet premier ordered the mission to be aborted and for the crew to return to Earth as soon as possible.

The orders were relayed to Leonov, who began making his way back to the Soyuz. Kubasov, inside the Soyuz, then began preparing the spacecraft for re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere.

About a minute after, Leonov re-entered the 7K-L1 and the airlock was closed behind him. However, unknown to anyone outside the US Department of Defence, the Americans had been monitoring them - and the peculiar spacewalks of the mission were investigated thoroughly by the CIA.

A conspiracy was forming in NASA and the DOD.

The Soyuz 7K-L1 fired its propulsion module's engines to deorbit and land in the Caspian Sea.

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The Soyuz then separated its orbital module and its propulsion module and began its journey home.

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Soyuz-19 successfully splashed down in the Caspian Sea, becoming the first crewed Soviet spacecraft to do so. The splashdown brought to a close a mission that served as a stepping stone to future Soviet plans.....

A few days after Soyuz-19's successful landing, on April 21, 1974, the US Congress, after an emergency review of NASA’s budget, allots an additional $5.6 billion to their yearly budget. The decision was thought to be a random one, with no specific reason at all to the sudden influx of cash into NASA. NASA Administrator James Fletcher announced at a press conference today that the decision was due to Project Astra’s “extremely ambitious goals to maintain American lead in the Space Race.” 

After Administrator Fletcher mentioned “to maintain American lead in the Space Race”, questions from media arose over whether the Soviet Union was still attempting to upstage the United States. 

James Fletcher replied: 

“I am not claiming the Soviet Union is attempting to upstage us. We at NASA and at Capitol Hill would still like to maintain American superiority in the space theater. I was referring to the peaceful Space Race, in which nations race to achieve scientific breakthroughs. Not race to achieve national superiority. Speaking of the peaceful Space Race, we most certainly do have new competitors. I mean, nations. Not competitors.” 

Media immediately speculated that the new competitors Administrator Fletcher was referring to was the newly founded Indian Space Exploration Organization (ISEO) and the newly formed Japanese Aerospace Exploration Administration (JAEA or JAXA). 

The media immediately asked Administrator James Fletcher whether he considered ISEO and/or JAXA as competitors against NASA. 

Fletcher responded with “No comment” and left the conference immediately after.  

A few days after the conference, which was televised nationally, ISEO and JAXA released proclamations of intent of cooperation to NASA, which claimed they both wanted to collaborate with NASA over space exploration, and specifically, low earth orbit projects. NASA has not said anything regarding the two proclamations. 

On April 31, 1974, NASA announced the delay of Apollo 19 and 19A to be further pushed back to early 1975. NASA claimed this was because the “extended Apollo program missions are not ready, but others are.” The “others” referring to the Skylab program and the rapidly approaching Approach and Landing Tests of the new Space Shuttle.  

NASA announced that Skylab will be launching in July 1974, with the first 6 Skylab crews being announced (their launch and return dates were also announced.) 

SKYLAB PROGRAM: FIRST SEVEN MISSIONS 

SKYLAB 

The Skylab Orbital Laboratory will launch aboard a Saturn V-C (C for Cargo) heavy-lift launch vehicle from LC-39A at Cape Canaveral on July 20, 1974. 

SKYLAB CREW-1 (C1) 

Skylab Crew-1 consists of Commander Neil Armstrong, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins and Chief Scientific Officer James Irwin. The mission will launch aboard a Saturn IB from LC-39B at Cape Canaveral on July 21, 1974. The crew will reach Skylab on July 23. Skylab Crew-1 will then return to Earth on November 15, 1974. 

SKYLAB CREW-2 (C2) 

Skylab Crew-2 consists of Commander Buzz Aldrin, Command Module Pilot William Anders, and Chief Scientific Officer Alan Bean. The mission will launch aboard a Saturn IB from LC-39A at Cape Canaveral on November 18, 1974. Skylab Crew-2 will then return to Earth on March 20, 1975. 

SKYLAB CREW-3 (C3) 

Skylab Crew-3 consists of Commander Frank Borman, Command Module Pilot Vance Brand, and Chief Scientific Officer Scott Carpenter. The mission will launch aboard a Saturn IB from LC-39A at Cape Canaveral on March 26, 1975. Skylab Crew-3 will then return to Earth on July 16, 1975.  

SKYLAB CREW-4 (C4) 

Skylab Crew-4 consists of Commander Pete Conrad Jr., Command Module Pilot Paul Weitz, and Chief Scientific Officer Joseph Kerwin. The mission will launch aboard a Saturn IB from LC-39B at Cape Canaveral on July 20, 1975. The mission will launch a new Skylab module, the Skylab Node, to the space station. The Skylab Node will be launched in the LM storage area. Skylab Crew-4 will return to Earth on October 7, 1975. 

SKYLAB CREW-5 (C5) 

Skylab Crew-5 consists of Commander Robert Crippen, Command Module Pilot Henry Hartsfield Jr., and Chief Scientific officer Richard Truly. The mission will launch aboard a Saturn IB from LC-39A at Cape Canaveral on October 11, 1975. Skylab Crew-5 will return to Earth on February 20, 1976.  

SKYLAB CREW-6 (C6) 

Skylab Crew-6 consists of Commander F. Story Musgrave, Command Module Pilot Bruce McCandless II, and Chief Scientific Officer Russell Schweickart. The mission will launch aboard a Saturn IB from LC-39B on October 15, 1975. The mission will launch with an Apollo CSM Extended Module (ACEM) and will dock with Skylab. The Crew-5 and Crew-6 missions will work together on Skylab for around 5 months before Crew-5's return to Earth in February 1976. Skylab Crew-6 will return to Earth on March 31, 1976. 

--- 

On May 4, 1974, a Titan IVB launches the first of a series of probes, the Outreach I, bound for the hot planet of Venus. The probe was launched to investigate the possibility of signs of life in the Venusian atmosphere. 

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However, once the spacecraft reached 12.5 kilometers, a deadly malfunction occurred. The second stage broke off, triggering the ullage motors on the first stage, which caused a complicated series of failures that culminated in one of the side boosters separating prematurely and flying into the sky like a ballistic missile.

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The spacecraft’s communications systems had shutdown, preventing range safety from being engaged. 

Outreach I was declared a failure at a press conference on May 5. 

At the same press conference, the launch of Outreach II from Vandenberg Air Force Base was delayed until the Outreach I failure could be investigated and solved. 

Due to this, the Skylab launch and the Skylab Crew-1 launch were also delayed to allow cleanup personnel enough time to clear out the launchpad and ready it for Skylab’s launch. 

Fast forward a few months on October 4, 1974, the fifth fully assembled N-1 launch vehicle is rolled out to a launchpad at Baikonur Cosmodrome. The unmanned test flight will launch an unmanned Soyuz 7K-L1 and the Luna crew-rated lunar lander to Lunar orbit, where it will perform tests on the spacecraft.  

NASA stood in complete and utter awe as footage of the spacecraft’s rollout was publicized on major news networks. NASA Administrator James Fletcher called for an emergency meeting on the same day as soon as possible. 

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Although NASA and the Soviet space program tried to keep secret the goals of the meeting and the N-1 launch respectively, many people on both sides of the Iron Curtain knew the truth. 

The space competition between the US and the USSR was reignited. And this time, the finish line was much farther. 

--------------------

Skylab and Skylab Crew-1 missions will be added soon. 

 

 

Edited by AeroSky
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Hello, everyone!

I seem to have forgotten to add the Skylab and Skylab Crew-1 launch! I’ll add it in later, or I’ll change the story a bit to have it at Chapter 4’s start.

I also hope to have Chapter 4 out either later or on the 26th.

4 hours ago, JakGamingKSP said:

why no lord and saviour philip chapman in skylab

Who is Philip Chapman?

Thanks everyone!

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7 hours ago, JakGamingKSP said:

first australian astronaut (never flew)

I'll consider it. I won't include him in Skylab missions, but he may be included in some long-term Project Astra missions....

Anyway, Merry Christmas everyone! :)

To a better 2021, and to more chapters in Project Astra!

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ANNOUNCEMENT

Hello, everyone! In order to maintain a standard of quality in the upcoming chapters, I will be switching the Project Astra chapter release schedule from every weekend to "once ready". This is to allow me time to check the draft for errors and to take quality photos.

Thank you!

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Posted (edited)

Happy New Year, everyone!

Currently, Chapter 4 is undergoing double-checking to make sure the dates are right after I found a major time gap in the draft (One launch was in 1975 and the next is in 1976). I hope to get it released by January 9, 2021.

Chapter 5 and 6 will begin preliminary drafting and should be released in mid-January (I hope). KSP is cooperating now, which will enable me to continue photographing the missions.

Also, probe missions will be included in Chapter 4 :)

EDIT: Chapter 4 will focus on the development of rockets and some Soviet achievements..

Edited by AeroSky
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Posted (edited)

The post above this has been edited to provide accurate information. Chapter 4: A Scarlet Moon will focus on the Neptune rocket's development, the N-1 missions and a certain landing. I may include a probe or two. Maybe.

I also hope to add the Skylab and Skylab Crew-1 mission photos into Chapter 3 by tomorrow!

 

Edited by AeroSky
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Hello, everyone!

Sadly, I will have to push back Chapter 4 to January 17, 2021 due to examinations coming up soon. I'll start drafting Chapters 5, 6 and 7 in the meantime so they'll be out not long after!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, it's been a long time, hasn't it?

Due to numerous delays and time-consuming events, Chapter 4 will be delayed until at least this Sunday. I believe I have finished up to Chapter 6 already, and I have a lot in store. I hope to rollout Chapter 4 soon by the end of January 2021 at the latest.

Thank you, everyone!

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3 hours ago, AeroSky said:

Well, it's been a long time, hasn't it?

Due to numerous delays and time-consuming events, Chapter 4 will be delayed until at least this Sunday. I believe I have finished up to Chapter 6 already, and I have a lot in store. I hope to rollout Chapter 4 soon by the end of January 2021 at the latest.

Thank you, everyone!

Can't wait!

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Hello, everyone! Chapter 4 will not be releasing today, sadly. However, I have a surprise in store for all of you! In order to compensate for the crazy long periods of time between Chapters, I will now be recording, time lapsing and posting me filming Project Astra's Chapters. If you're eagle-eyed enough, you may figure out what the next missions will be, but I will not leak them explicitly.

I hope to get the first one or two "Project Astra Development" videos out by this weekend, accompanied by Chapter 4 itself. Here's my channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCN8mv4OA6LqrFflXbHk-YuQ 

You can subscribe so you'll get notified when the video comes out!

 

It is also possible that Project Astra maybe will be turned into a video series moving forward. What do you guys think?

 

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Hello everyone! Sadly, Chapter 4 and the dev videos will have to be pushed back to next weekend, but with homework dialing down, I hopefully should be able to prepare at least two videos and the Chapter itself by next weekend. :)

 

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Hello, everyone!

I would just like to say thank you so much for all of your support of this project so far! In order to return the 'hype' to this, I will now be slashing most of the story and rewriting it to support what @Mikenike and @KerballingSmasher hyped up at the start of the project. Right now, I am planning to:

  • Record, publish, and sustain a Project Astra development series on YouTube that will record myself (no facecam) filming the Project Astra chapters. For example, the video for Chapter 5 will release around two days before Chapter 5 itself will release. I plan to continue this for an indefinite period of time.
  • Release three chapters this weekend, namely Chapters 4, 5 and 6. I now it's ambitious, but I hope to be able to achieve it all by Monday. I also plan to release Chapters 7 and 8 the weekend after that (Feb. 12-14), Chapter 9 the weekend after that (Feb. 19-21) and Chapter 10 and 11 by the end of February. Chapters 11-20 should be out in March, if it ever gets to that. Note that I am planning to halt this eventually and continue it through another story, perhaps fast forwarded into the 21st Century.
  • Find some sort of non-performance hurting graphics mod to include in Project Astra. Please leave recommendations below :)
  • First Project Astra dev video will be filming Apollo 18 properly and filming Skylab and Skylab Crew 1's launch

Once more, thank you everyone for all of your great support! The story should get really spicy soon with the Russians landing on the Moon soon and the Americans........ well, you'll have to wait to find out :)

Thank you and stay safe!

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On 12/23/2020 at 6:03 AM, AeroSky said:

(The conversation was redacted as it contained details regarding the N-1)

Why??? Quite frankly, I'd like to know what Leonov had to say.

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Hello, everyone!

The Interlude mentioned above will sadly have to be delayed to tomorrow. Chapter 4 and Chapter 5 remain on track, but Chapter 6 is slipping slightly.

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Interlude 1 - The Conversation

The following is a transcript of the conversation that occurred between LEONOV, ALEKSEI and KUBASOV, VALERY during the Soyuz-19 space mission. The following has been declassified by [REDACTED].

LEONOV - "I'm bored"

KUBASOV - "Alright then. So am I. I hear you just got assigned to the N-1/C mission?"

LEONOV - "Yeah. I was hoping to be left out."

KUBASOV - "What? Why?"

LEONOV - "That N-1 rocket isn't safe. 30 experimental engines that have never been tested in flight condition before. I know the N-1/A mission will be flying soon unmanned, but still."

KUBASOV - "We truly are polar opposites, aren't we, old friend? I was hoping to get assigned."

LEONOV - "I guess we are. Did you hear the news that Premier Kosygin is planning to open spaceflight to the Soviet population? He just recently passed a resolution that is moving our motherland towards a brighter future."

KUBASOV - "Yeah. He's opening it to Chinese, European and Japanese citizens for around $50 million I believe."

LEONOV - "God, that's cheap. Maybe I'll see my daughter up here in space with me after all."

The remaining portions of the conversation is undergoing review by [REDACTED] and will be released if [REDACTED] wishes so. Long Live the Soviet Union!

 

Spoiler

Did you like it? Tell me your thoughts. If people really want it, I'll add in a second Interlude that will leak more things. :) 

 

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Hello, everyone!

Chapter 4 and 5 has been delayed to next weekend, but it should come out then. I will have to film the two chapters on one day as I am planning to record a KSP video about the upcoming Mars thing landing on the 18th.......

Wait did I just leak that?

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